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Chicago Area Marks Memorial Day With Parades, Masses

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(CBS) — American servicemen and women are being honored throughout the Chicago area this Memorial Day.

It was perfect weather for Park Ridge’s Memorial Day parade. CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports about a thousand people lined the one mile route in Park Ridge and parade-goers young and old came out with quite the patriotic spirit.

90-year-old Chuck Larson was the Grand Marshal of the Memorial Day parade. He fought in World War II and is a long time resident of Park Ridge.

“It brings back a lot of memories and you miss a lot of your good friends guys who should be here. I am so thrilled because I have got 13 grandchildren,” said Larson.

Families have made this a yearly tradition and Monday they couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Third grader Natalie Jezierny decorated a toy ATV. It was her way of remembering all the service men and women who have sacrificed for this country.

Governor Pat Quinn was among the many folks who walked the parade route.

“It is important to remember all of our veterans, all of those who served our country, worn the uniform of our democracy, and protected our,” said Governor Quinn.

Francis Cardinal George and other clergy are celebrating field Masses on Memorial Day. The Chicago Archdiocese says it’s a way to honor the men and women currently serving in the military and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.

Cardinal George presided over a Mass at Maryhill Cemetery in Niles where he was joined at the altar by more than half a dozen other clergy members. Most of the several thousand people in attendance make it a tradition to be there every last Monday in May.

Grant Park Wreath Laying Ceremony Honors Fallen Soldiers

grant park memorial day Chicago Area Marks Memorial Day With Parades, Masses
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For some, learning that the Cardinal would be saying the Mass makes this Memorial Day even more special.

“I love Cardinal George and I am very happy and I know he has been in ill health so for him to come out again keep such a busy schedule is amazing,” said Mass attendee John Large.

“He is an icon for us, for the Polish Scouts. We have met him several times and it is an honor to be with him today,” said Monica Jaroscewicz.

In addition to the Cardinal’s Mass in Niles, there are 36 other Masses scheduled at Catholic cemeteries on Memorial Day.

In Grant Park, attendees sang the national anthem and watched on as the color guard retired the colors and servicemen laid the Memorial Day wreath at the base of the General John Logan Monument.

Afghanistan veteran and U.S. Marine Corp Captain Christian Palmer addressed the crowd and says this is the time we look into the faces of the fallen and remember why they died for America.

“It is easy to kind of become jaded to it, it is easy to be cynical about the wars we fight, but at the end of the day the fallen had nothing but their lives and they gave their lives. So today is a day to look back on your last year and ask yourself what you have done that you deserve the sacrifice the fallen gave to you,” said Palmer.